I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I want to read that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere. If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d just link back to me I’d so appreciate it

Last week I decided to change things up and have a Throwback topic that features some of the most memorable books that have made me cry over the years. It’s not often that I come across a book that moves me to tears (or sobs) so when I do those tend to stay with me. I think it takes something special on the part of an author to be able to evoke such strong emotions in a reader.

I’ve listed my picks this week in order, starting with light tears shed and increasing to a book that left me completely sobbing…ugly crying to the max in other words! Here we go..



Published January 2016 by Random House

My Rating 5/5 Stars  sob rating 😢😢

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

If you haven’t yet read this profoundly moving memoir, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy soon! This might be the best written memoir I’ve ever read. Paul Kalanithi clearly had a future as an author which is what he planned on doing in the second half of his life after he was done being a surgeon. Sadly, we’ll never get a chance to read any more books by him but this one is a treasure.




Published February 2008 by St.Martin’s Press

My Rating 5/5 Stars  Sob rating 😢😢😢

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable. For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals.

You guys…this book!! I read this almost 6 years ago and I still remember the story as well as the fact I had to put it down when my kids were around so they wouldn’t ask why mom was crying so much over a book:)  I just loved this story about a friendship that spanned decades.




Published March 2006 By Knopf Books for Young Readers

My Rating: 5/5 Stars  Sob Rating: 😢😢😢😢

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. 

Do I really need to say anything about this book…over 1,000,000 ratings and almost 90,000 reviews on Goodreads with a 4.36 ratings average…that’s just amazing! This book probably gets the award for the book I most resisted reading for YEARS! Friends recommended, reviews were excellent and still I didn’t want to read it. Finally , two years ago when my son was in 8th grade he was assigned this book to read for English and I decided to read it as well so we could discuss it together (I’ll do anything if my kids will read!). Needless to say, I loved it so much that I’d say it’s one of my top 5 reads ever.




Published June 2016 by Simon & Schuster

My Rating: 5/5 Stars   Sob Rating:😢😢😢😢

This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.



This book is witty, original, sarcastic in places and laugh out funny in others. I’m a current dog owner and I totally got Ted’s devotion and attachment to Lily. That’s all I’ll say about the story but by the end of the book I was crying so much my dog came from another room and sat by me, which honestly made me cry more. I wish this book was getting more love I thought it was fantastic!

LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…The book that caused me to hide in the bathroom to finish it because I was literally sobbing so much…for over an hour…and then had a book hangover lasting about 6 weeks….is



Published March 2015 By Doubleday

My Rating 5/5 Stars  Sob Rating 😢😢😢😢😢

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. 

This book is also in my top 5 reads ever and one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s a haunting story about trauma, friendship and love and by far one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It will seep into your soul and you will be changed after reading this book, I guarantee it. This book isn’t going to be for everyone as it has some of the most disturbing subject matter I’ve read and there were many times the darkness became too much and I had to put it down for a few hours and then come back to it. To say this is powerful writing and storytelling doesn’t seem to do it justice but that’s how I feel about this novel. All the sobs and ugly crying for this one!

Have you read any of these or like to? Have your own tearjerker recommendations? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy Reading!


If you’d like to check out another Throwback Thursday recommendation , check out The Book Whisperer Rebecca’s site here

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    1. I know how you feel abut the cover and I would’ve never given it a second glance either. I decided to read this after listening to an entire podcast by someone in publishing and she literally raved about it and then a good friend highly recommended it so I knew I had to read it. The cover isn’t a reflection of the book at all!! If you read it I’d love to discuss it with you

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I would say that was my reaction to A Little Life as well. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much before or since. Thank you for your recommendation, I’ll look that up! I’ve been hoping others will share their crying books…I don’t know why I like books that make me emotional but I do:)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I still have Firefly Lane on my ereader so I’m looking forward to reading that one. I did read Night Road though and I loved that one exactly the same as you did with Firefly Lane! I just remembered that I never posted my review for that one and it should still be in a draft folder. I really should spread the word about this author and get to another book! I’ve also heard the Nightingale is very good too.

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    1. I’m so glad you like Night Road, it was a different type of story for her. I bought the Nightingale right after Christmas, now I just need to squeeze it in soon, I’ve heard it’s very good. I’ll look forward to your review of Night Road and you’re right, I feel like she’s an outstanding author that flies under the radar.

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  2. Great list. Two of these are already on my TBR; The Book Thief and A Little Life. I own The Book Thief so there is no reason for me not be to be able to sneak that one in at some point. If I add Lily and the Octopus to One Day from Tearjerkers Part I, the damage to my poor TBR is minimal 🙂 Better get some clean handkerchiefs and an old t-shirt (box of Kleenex is for company) ready for what’s about to go down. Thank you Renee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you add those you’ll definitely need to stockpile handkerchiefs. I really can’t wait to hear your thoughts on any of them when you read them so please let me know what you think!!


    1. I know, I hope you get to it though it makes you think as well as appreciate what you have. The blurb is even touching I think. Firefly Lane was just so wonderful, I tried reading the sequel and just couldn’t get into it:(


  3. I’ve been wanting to read Firefly Lane ever since I read The Nightingale last year! I haven’t heard of the first book, so I’ll have to look into that one. And The Book Thief, I wasn’t a huge fan of. But I know a lot of people really loved it! Thanks for the tearjerker recs 🙂

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    1. If you read all those back to back you might be a crying mess:) Although When Breath becomes Air was the book to get me out of my Little Life hangover but then I thought…I’m torturing myself with these emotional books!! Of course, they both turned out to be 2 of my favorites for 2016. I’d love to discuss any of those when you finish reading them:)

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    1. It is long but once you get past the first 200 pages it’s very hard to put down. I read hours and hours and stayed up until 2:00am every night which is unheard of for me:) I finished it in 4 days. Which is a lot of disturbing material to take in a short time as well.

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  4. I haven’t read any of this week’s selection of tear jerkers but I am very interested in Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah not least because I loved the writing in The Nightingale. It’s now added to the wishlst, thank you Renee


    1. I understand! The Book Thief is such an amazing story but you won’t laugh with it. Lily and the Octopus, however, had me laughing out loud in so many parts. Especially since I’m a dog owner/lover as are you, I totally connected with the main character Ted:)


  5. The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all times although its definitely one of the saddest that I have ever read. I am curious about the other books on the list. I kinda like emotional reads despite everything. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. LOVE this post! You introduced Firefly Lane to me way back! Loved, loved, loved it! …and I read the sequel! I am all over the memoir (seems like a great reflective, introspective read for those who have age 50 in their grasp…ah me!). I will definitely read A Little Life.

    I have to brace myself for Lily and the Octopus…I am still contemplating going to see “A Dog’s Purpose” in the theatre and may have to wait until it comes out on Direct TV on Demand, as I don’t want to be a crying fool–in public that is!

    Keep doing your thing, my friend! your blog is awesome! Kathy already reserved the book from the library based on your most recent blog post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Karen!! You’re so sweet to take time to read my book ramblings:) You know how book obsessed I am and also how I love it when a book makes me cry so I had to share my crying inspirations. The memoir is heartbreaking but at the same time will make you appreciate being able to get older. Yes, Lily made me ridiculous cry but not quite as much as A Little Life…summer read for you?? Thanks for stopping by the blog friend😘

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  7. Aside from The Book Theif (which I’ve read) these are all on my TBR. I watched the book trailer for When Breath Becomes Air and I was a hot sobbing mess, so I can only image what I would look like actually reading the book lol. A Little Life has been on my radar, but not I am very intrigued with a book you hold to such high esteem!

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    1. I’m so glad you’ve got so many of these tear jerkers on your TBR! I honestly feel that A Little Life (for me) is one of those books that comes along once every few years if I’m lucky…it’s not only the saddest book I’ve ever read but the characters became so real that I still think of them and have to remind myself they were fiction:) If you’d want to chat about it DM me otherwise I’ll go on forever!

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